Australia is one of those places I never really had much interest in. But when I started recently watching the Australian version of “Married at First Sight”, a show I love and have watched various versions of now, I soon changed my mind. The stunning beaches, beautiful ports and bays, and the cosmopolitan and cultural gems that seem to fill cities like Brisbane and Sydney, mean that the Land of Oz is now definitely on my travel bucket list.
Australia’s unique location means those who live there are very spoiled for choice. Sydney alone is home to fascinating venues like the Sydney Opera House, which is also a UNESCO heritage site, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which can be found close by. Together, they form the most iconic image there is of Australia.
Almost all of the island nation’s main attractions are related to the water that surrounds it. With the Pacific Ocean on its northeast side and the Indian Ocean on its west, there are plenty of opportunities to do something I never thought possible but I’ve now learned is – whale watching!
Sydney has a rich history when it comes to whales. In fact, the city’s interesting past dates back to the late 18th century, when fate placed humans and whales on opposite sides of the food chain. A new settlement in Sydney Cove was facing a shortage of food. People knew that they could go fishing to overcome this shortage. A British vessel named ‘Emilia’ had encountered a school of Bull Sperm Whales, which they soon began to hunt. Within a few years, the thriving colony had become a market for the whale trade.
Whale carcasses provided a number of benefits to residents of the region. It produced fatty oil which was exported to other countries and used to burn lamps. Whale skin was also sold to several countries. The booming business ultimately met its demise in the mid-1800’s as demand declined rapidly and uncertainty in the industry grew.
Australia’s relationship with whales has thankfully evolved into a much more pleasant one and that is really what makes me so interested in them. Watching whales in their natural habitat is a unique experience that I’ve decided has to be done! Apparently, whales are almost revered in parts of Australia. Aboriginal Aussies were known for making rock engravings and paintings, many of which are centuries old.
Best Places to Whale Watch
Modern-day Sydney actually sounds like it provides an extraordinary whale watching experience. The city’s coastline and adjoining terrain offer excellent vantage points for observation. The movement of migrating whales can be tracked from locations like the aforementioned Sydney Harbour. The National Park is a designated venue to enjoy this unique experience and enjoy other sights as well.
The whales visible from the harbour are humpback whales, southern right whales and the rare blue whale if you are fortunate. Quite often, these large mammals travel with their infants as well. Between April and November, which coincides with peak winter season in Australia, the coastline draws many hoping to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. If you are lucky enough, you may be able to capture whales in motion with the harbour front in the backdrop. A pretty special pic to share on Instagram, to say the least.
Dedicated services like https://www.ozwhalewatching.com.au/ offer packages like tours and cruises that are ideal if whale watching piques your interest.
Other locales for great whale watching opportunities include the beautiful headland areas like North Head, which is actually part of Sydney Harbour National Park. Cape Solander, which can be found in the beautiful Kamay Botany National Park, also deserved to be explored if you are seeking a more serene location.
Southern Sydney, such as the Royal National Park and Mount Bouddi, also hold great appeal. All of which leaves me wondering if I need to spend more than just a couple of weeks in Australia when I do start to plan my trip. A once in a lifetime experience deserves to be treated with great care, don’t you agree?